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Poster: 2muchtv Date: Aug 8, 2004 11:11am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: MOVIE OF THE WEEK! 08/06/04!! BART! BART! BART!

Two things impressed me about this film.

First, from a production perspective, this appears to be a cutting room film - collage of other film clips married together for a purpose other than that intended by those who shot the original film parts.

I felt the print technician and editor did a great job balancing the exposure, colors and perspectives of the clips to make a pleasant viewing experience.

Second (and if I'm mistaken here I hope someone will correct me), as I understand it, BART has been an unqualified success, a project that met and exceeded all expectations. With such examples of successful mass transit projects around the country, why are most of us still sitting in traffic jams, in single occupancy vehicles, two or three hours per day? What is wrong with our collective minds? Why don't we demand mass transit in every city an town across the country? Why are so many cites stuck in traffic, both literally and politically? Will this be our legacy as a nation? Too stupid to work together well enough to fix such an obvious problem with such an obvious solution? What do we fear?

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Poster: ridetheory Date: Aug 9, 2004 1:33pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: MOVIE OF THE WEEK! 08/06/04!! BART! BART! BART!

With such examples of successful mass transit projects around the country, why are most of us still sitting in traffic jams, in single occupancy vehicles, two or three hours per day? What is wrong with our collective minds? Why don't we demand mass transit in every city an town across the country? Why are so many cites stuck in traffic, both literally and politically? Will this be our legacy as a nation? Too stupid to work together well enough to fix such an obvious problem with such an obvious solution? What do we fear?


You're preaching to the choir, Reverend. (Notice my screen name...)

This whole fear of mass transit is driven by three things in the USA. The first being a perception that only poor people ride the bus and light rail, and so if you are somewhat well-to-do, you don't want to mix with the hoi-polli. Generally, that dissapates when a commuter rail is in place, and people see how easy it is to use.

The second thing: Americans LOVE their cars, and the "freedom" they supposedly represent. Here in Portland, the only way to get to our minor-league baseball park (there is no parking lot, which makes a car trip pretty annoying) and the easiest way to get to our sports arena is via the light rail train, the MAX. And it's PACKED during baseball and basketball seasons.

Finally, there is a lack of vision in the USA on urban transit issues. When I researched magnetic levitation trains recently, I learned that the goal of the German mag-lev program was to eliminate all domestic plane flights. In America, the typical goal of a light rail system is only to reach the airport.

This post was modified by ridetheory on 2004-08-09 20:33:27

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Poster: 2muchtv Date: Aug 10, 2004 3:51am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: MOVIE OF THE WEEK! 08/06/04!! BART! BART! BART!

Well, ride, I guess in addition to preaching to the choir, we're talking to ourselves. It seems the issue with mass transit might be that no one cares. Funny to compare the volume of responses to the previous week's film, eh?

I'm right across the ditch from you, over here in Clark county, watching the city ignore the lessons of Portland and simply build more already-over-crowded roads. What a bunch of inbred hick uncle daddies.

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Poster: ridetheory Date: Aug 10, 2004 3:54pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: MOVIE OF THE WEEK! 08/06/04!! BART! BART! BART!

Quiet can be nice. I am sighing contentedly lately when I look at this forum... Aahhh.

It's always weird to me that cities don't want to diversify their transportation options. They've really put all their eggs in OPEC's basket, and they're setting themselves up for a nasty fall.

Man, some of the stories about rejection of high-tech, interurban rail in America would curl your hair. Did you know, for instance, that Alweg, the German monorail company, offered to build a system around Puget Sound FOR FREE? They just wanted a showcase for their system, and all they asked in return was the rights of way ("right of ways"?). Seattle turned them down!

BART is all the more remarkable, given the general bias against urban transit planning.

This post was modified by ridetheory on 2004-08-10 22:54:48

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Poster: GersonK Date: Aug 11, 2004 9:54am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: MOVIE OF THE WEEK! 08/06/04!! BART! BART! BART!

To quote a conversation Bart's sister had:

Lisa: I'd like you to explain why we should build a mass transit system in a small town with a centralized population.

Lyle Lanley: Young lady, that's the most intelligent question I've ever been asked. Oh, I could give you an answer, but the only ones who'd understand it would be you and me...and that includes your teacher.
--- The Simpsons, Marge vs. The Monorail

More seriously, for a transit system to succeed, it's got to be able to pick up enough people close enough to their home and drop them off close enough to their work fast enough to make it worthwhile for them to leave their cars behind. Figuring out if you can meet all of those enoughs is the stuff of exciting city planning studies.

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Poster: summerseve Date: Aug 11, 2004 11:21am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: MOVIE OF THE WEEK! 08/06/04!! BART! BART! BART!

I live in Chicago, which has an excellent public transportation system, on which millions of people depend every day. It's one of the best in the country, and it's hard to find a place that isn't within four blocks of a relatively safe and clean bus or train, all of which interconnect seamlessly.
Yet what do I hear everyday? Complaints about the CTA. It's a truly thankless task to build, maintain and run such a system, but this film made me stop and give thanks for something I take for granted every day.
Until this morning, that is, when I waited 25 minutes for the bus, while watching seven of them go by the other way...

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Poster: ridetheory Date: Aug 11, 2004 3:32pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: MOVIE OF THE WEEK! 08/06/04!! BART! BART! BART!

As much as I love mass transit, I have to admit that any sufficiently advanced transit system is occasionally indistinguishable from sadism.

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Poster: ridetheory Date: Aug 11, 2004 3:42pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: MOVIE OF THE WEEK! 08/06/04!! BART! BART! BART!

Going from home to work and back again is the main thing in transit design, but side trips to destinations (shopping centers, sports venues, airports) are also important.

OFF-TOPIC/PET SUBJECT ALERT:
In my particular area of interest -- amusement parks -- there were once "trolley parks". These were completely artificial destinations, constructed purely because the electric trolley lines had to pay for the electricity on the weekends anyway, so they manufactured destinations just so the juice wouldn't go to waste.

This post was modified by ridetheory on 2004-08-11 22:42:06

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Poster: Marysz Date: Aug 8, 2004 1:31pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Building a dream for tomorrow?

The few times I've visited the Bay Area, I never got around to riding BART. But I did get stuck in traffic. I hope the idealism about public transit the city officials in the film had paid off after all. The comments about Louis Mumford and cities being about the "care and culture of men" were interesting. Nobody seems to pay much attention to his work anymore. But he was still influential in 1968 when this film was made.

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Poster: GersonK Date: Aug 11, 2004 10:14am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Building a dream for tomorrow?

I'll admit, I had to look Mumford up - it's hard to imagine a similar film today just dropping in the name of a 'noted urbanist' or other academic like that.

I also found it odd that they went to all that trouble with the opening song, yet had no incidental music in the rest of it.

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Poster: Marysz Date: Aug 11, 2004 11:57am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Building a dream for tomorrow?

Mumford was very influential while he was alive; but today he's hardly known at all. As for the music, I wonder if they ran out of money before they could put in a music track. So many films of this type have such banal music that it's a relief to have silence when the narrator isn't talking.